The AA, once known as the Automobile Association, were founded way back in 1905 to assist motorists in avoiding prosecution as laws evolved to regulate driving. Over time, their activities have become most associated with breakdown assistance, but they cover a huge variety of motoring related roles, all aimed to help drivers and represent their best interests.
One part of the AA’s role is to help motorists keep their vehicles in a safe condition. Of course, all vehicles must be roadworthy to minimum MOT standards and be safe to use, but there are a range of measures that can be taken to improve safety further. One of those is a good vehicle maintenance routines, and one of those checks can be performed with the AA electronic tyre pump range.
Below, we’ll take a brief look at each of their recent models.
AA Tyre Inflator Models
The most popular model has earned it’s position on the whole because of price, so that’s where we’ll start. The AA RCP – C43L tyre inflator is the cheapest in the range (unless others are steeply discounted – check prices to be sure using the blue buttons on this page).
As you would expect at such a low price point, this is very much the basic unit. In general it’s worth spending a little more as this is a safety device after all, more on why in a moment.
This model will handle pressures up to 80PSI, plenty for most cars on the UK roads, but offers an analogue pressure dial. Most motorists will find a digital display easier to use at a glance, which is the main reason we advise spending a little more. A step up to the RCP – B31A (next down the page) will give you that convenience in ease of use.
Don’t get us wrong, it’s far better to have the RCP C43L than no pump at all on board in your car, the unit is easy to use, with a three metre power cable to plug into your vehicles power outlet being long enough to reach each wheel for almost all cars.
The air hose is short compared to a lot of other models, the lottery of where the valve is on the wheel when you stop means that if its on the top, you’ll have the body of the unit dangling from the hose in mid air if you don’t hold it which is probably not advisable if you want it to last.
For these reasons, if you can afford to do so, check out the RCP-B31A next for a much more robust and easy to use solution, otherwise, here’s the link to check out the current price of the basic model:
For most of our readers interested in an AA pump, this is the ideal solution. It’s a marked step up from the basic inflator above, offering simple operation.
Not only is the key difference a digital pressure reading rather than analogue dial, but that also allows for a target pressure to be set, meaning the pump shuts off automatically when the desired pressure is reached. That’s really helpful if you could be distracted, for example people speaking to you and accidentally over inflating tyres while you’re looking away.
You also get a much longer air hose, long enough to reach the top of the wheel if that’s where the valve is positioned when you park up.
The RPC B31A also has a lamp built in, with the ability to use it as a torch (always on), a flashing warning to show you’re there and finally a Morse Code style SOS sequence.
As with a lot of pumps above basic level, you also get a range of adaptors in the box too, great if you need to get some air into a football or paddling pool.
Hopefully, it’s clear to see why we recommend spending that little extra on getting a better pump like this, rather than the basic version above.
12 Volt Digital Tyre Compressor
For completeness, we’re leaving this older model on the site. You’ll likely find that it drifts in and out of stock on Amazon from time to time (at least that’s our experience), and you might find it harder to find in shops.
The reason we’ve left it is that it broadly aligns with the RCP-B31A above, but also offers a backlit display, which might be a feature you’re looking for in case you’re in need of pumping up tyres in the dark in a poorly lit area. It’s all very well having the torch function, but the display is on the side of the unit so harder to read in poor light.